Wednesday, December 22, 2010


With less than two weeks before the Republicans take the reins of governance here in WI, one might think that they would be working day and night to hit the ground running to solve the major problems facing the state. I mean gov-elect Walker has said that his first days in office would be dedicated to generating jobs. (We'll forget for the moment that before he has become governor he has already squelched all the jobs tied to the now doomed high speed rail) The economic news is not good. Right there, on page three of Tuesday's Wi State Journal is the the headline:  Poverty Rates Up Around The State. South central Wisconsin counties show a 7.5% to 12.3% increase 2005 to 2009. The need for jobs is critical.

This having been said, one merely has to glance below the fold of the same page to get a true idea of  the priorities of incoming Republicans: Nass: Let's Repeal Law On Race-Based Mascot Names. Yup, Rep. Steve Nass's first priority is to allow WI schools to rename their sports teams The Indians or The Warriors or perhaps even The Redskins. On a week when ground breaking legislation is signed opening up the military to gays and lesbians, Nass wants to take Wisconsin back forty years in race relations. Never mind that families are sliding deeper and deeper into poverty with some kids pulled out of school because their homes are being foreclosed and others going to school hungry, we damn sure need to make it possible for their school mascot to be able to run around with a feather headdress doing fake war whoops.

Oh well, I guess there will be jobs out there making Indian headdresses.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Big Harmony Congrats

The Harmony Bar celebrated it's 20th Anniversary on Sunday. Expecting a crowd somewhat larger than the bar could hold, it was held at the Barrymore Theater. Keith told me he was expecting 600 to 700 hundred people. Thats a pretty damn big crowd for a neighborhood bar. When the Mrs and I arrived, the lobby  was already full of ready to party friends. This shot gives you an idea of the turnout.

Music was played, beer was drunk, stories were told, and a great time was had by all.
Keith told me tonight that 1600 people showed up and payed the $5+ admision to the party. All told, $9000 was collected for the Goodman Center. What a fantastic job for a great cause.
How good must it feel to have 1600  friends that will come out for your birthday?
Super Congrats to Keith and Allison and all my wonderful friends at the Harmony Bar!

A Flyover Spring

Spring is sprung
The grass is ris'
I wonder where
The flowers is

Well certainly Spring in Flyovercountry is well represented in these pictures I took last Thursday. It was a beautiful day, 63 degrees, sun shining, a perfect end to a long winter.

Then, of course, there was this morning.

There is a reason that old people move south. The weather here is nucking futs.

Oh well, it is supposed to be 53 on Monday.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I just got a call at work. It was someone conducting a survey for the NRA. (Note here. I am not a member and the only gun I currently own is the 22  my dad gave me when  was 12, but I am not "anti gun".)
The call said "We're doing a one question survey".   The question?

"Are you against the United Nations move to ban guns in the United States"

Wha!?!? I didn't even know that the UN was coming to get my Springfield Arms single shot bolt action rifle.

I related the story to some friends on line and Brooklyn Girl was kind enough to give me this link to Apparently, the wingnut-o-sphere is using a treaty to control international arms trading to stir up the deadenders. They are using no less than John Bolton, a man so crazy that his mustache has a court order against him limiting contact, to flog their insanity.

So, your question has to be "What did you answer?".

Well, I responded that I didn't know if he was with the NRA or just a poor schlub who was trying to make a living (I'm always nice to these people on the assumption they're just minimum wage temps) but my survey answer was:   "You are nuts"

Dead air.

I continued "Please write down that my response to the survey is "You are nuts". Would you like me to spell that?"
"Yes, please."
"Y-O-U  A-R-E  N-U-T-S"
With that, I wished him a nice day and hung up.

The crazy season for elections comes earlier and earlier but I think that the balls-to-the-walls Obama haters are going to make this an off year election like no other. And remember, the SCOTUS has opened the floodgates for the moneyed whack jobs to pour unlimited amounts for or against candidates.
Strap in, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Musings

March is such a tease. I mean it's the start of spring and all, but you never know what you get. Now the average temperature for today is 36 and we actually beat it by a few degrees but I checked and the record high for March first is 62, the record low is -29. That's a spread of 91 degees! Even the last day of March, where the norm is 50, has a record high of 82 and a low of 5. Still a 77 degree spread. There's a heck of a lot of places that never have a 77 degree spread through the whole year. At least January and February are going to be cold and you know it. There's an honesty there.

As the spring month roles in there's still a lot of snow on the ground.

It'll probably be gone by this time next week (there's rain predicted for next weekend) but it sure feels like winter.

There are a few spring-like things going on though. One of my favorite harbingers of spring is the spinach in my cold frame staring to grow with the higher sun.
I should be eating fresh spinach by the first day of spring.

A couple of other plants have brightened my gloomy, end of winter spirits. One is a Bird of Paradise plant. I have three and one is a regular late winter bloomer. It has bloomed in January in the past, but I think it was too cloudy this year. It was waiting for a little more sun.

While I was watering I spotted this little barrel cactus with a beautiful crown of flowers.

I guess everything is hoping for an early spring so we all can get outdoors more. I know I sure am.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Republican Caucus

I was able to obtain this recording of the Republican Caucus meeting for this week. Apparently they're discussing the President's call for bipartisanship.

Boehner appears to be losing some of his tan.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Start of a New Series

Today we are going to start a new series. It's called "Things you never read in Canadian newspapers"

The first in this series is from a story in yesterday's Chicago Tribune. It's a lovely story about a man who has worked for the city of Wheaton IL for almost 20 years. Last week his job was determined to be non-essential to city services, so he was dismissed. Now this would seem to be a non-story as there are millions of people in the same situation right now and even the fact that he was less than 6 months from potential retirement does not make this story particularly newsworthy.
What the kicker is, the thing that makes this worth putting in the first section of a paper like the Trib, is that the man's wife was diagnosed with lymphoma six years ago. The ending of his carrer of almost twenty years also ends the chance that he will be able to continue with the health insurance policy that he (and his ill wife) have been relying on. In six months he could have retired and been able to stay on the policy at a low cost. As it is now, he gets 12 weeks of severance pay and 18 months coverage under COBRA (if he can afford the premiums). After that he is at the mercy (!) of the open health insurance industry. He feels it is going to be tough to find a new carrier who will pick up the tens of thousands of dollars amonth that it takes to keep his wife alive.
You can read the entire story here.

Now, why don't we read heart rendering stories like this in the Canadian newspapers?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Breaking Weather News

Dateline: Sun Prairie WI

Noted Weather Rodent Jimmy the Goundhog (seen above in an undated picture) came out of his burrow today and DID NOT see his shadow. In a prepared statement, Jimmy declared an early end to winter and a quick transition to spring. Reporters gathered around the furry prognosticator to ask how this forecast jibed with Jimmy's long time disdain for the concept of Global Warming. Before he could answer, a large Redtailed Hawk swept down, grabbing Jimmy in his talons. The hawk had been seen earlier on a lamppost near Hwy 151.
Reporters attempted to contact the hawk but were told that he was at lunch and had no comment.
Mr. Groundhog is survived by his son, Jimmy Jr. When asked by reporters whether he wold continue in the family business, Jimmy Jr answered "Hell no, I'm moving to Florida."
No funeral is planned at this time due to lack of remains but friends say there will be a memorial service to be announced at a later date.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hoar Frost

Freezing fog the last two mornings.

These shots were taken at 9AM as the sun was coming out. All gone by 10.

Topics in Healthcare

The local fishwrap had a lovely article Sunday about the anti-abortion crowd protesting UW Hospital offering 2nd trimster abortions at it's new surgery center. It had the usual suspects: Hospital officials explaining the need for the center and bearded Taliban members ranting about their religion local protestors explaining how Jesus hates abortions. Pretty routine stuff.
What always amazes me about these stories is that there is never a mention of health care in gereral. I mean if these people really cared about all those unborn babies why the hell aren't they out in front of their local Republican Party office demanding that they help put together a healthcare reform that would cover the prenatal care for every expectant mother? Why aren't they running around with pictures of real live babies that are in dire need of urgent medical care but their parents are too poor to obtain it? With the US infant mortality rate in there with some third world countries, one would think that might be a more important use of their time and energy. But alas, socialized medicine does not appear to be anywhere in the bible so god is either against it or at least ambivilent.  For as much press as these loonies get, you think just once someone might ask them about that.

Just in case you might think I'm a little hard on this crowd, here is a little bio (one of three in a sidebar) of one of the protestors. Tell me this guy isn't certfiable.